Uriel Orlow

  • Theatrum Botanicum

    Theatrum Botanicum

    Uriel Orlow and Shela Sheikh

    This publication emerges from Uriel Orlow's Theatrum Botanicum (2015–18), a multi-faceted project encompassing film, sound, photography, and installation, which looks to the botanical world as a stage for politics. Working from the dual vantage points of South Africa and Europe, the project considers plants as both witnesses to, and dynamic agents in, history. It links nature and humans, rural and cosmopolitan medicine, tradition and modernity across different geographies, histories, and systems of knowledge—exploring the variety of curative, spiritual, and economic powers of plants. The project addresses “botanical nationalism” and “flower diplomacy” during apartheid; plant migration; the role and legacies of the imperial classification and naming of plants; bioprospecting and biopiracy; and the garden planted by Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates at Robben Island prison.

    This publication is made up of two intertwining books: one documents the works of Theatrum Botanicum, including the scripts for two films; the second is a compendium of brief, commissioned essays that aims to offer an accessible snapshot of the complex and multifaceted issues that inform and are raised by the artworks. The independent but interrelated essays, which either speak directly to the artworks or follow lines of inquiry alongside them, cover perspectives from postcolonial cultural studies; art criticism and art history; natural history, botany (including ethnobotany and economic botany), and conservation; jurisprudence and critical legal studies; and critical race studies.

    • Paperback $36.00

Contributor

  • Vegetal Entwinements in Philosophy and Art

    A Reader

    Giovanni Aloi and Michael Marder

    The first reader in critical plant studies, exploring a rapidly growing multidisciplinary field—the intersection of philosophy with plant science and the visual arts.

    In recent years, philosophy and art have testified to how anthropocentrism has culturally impoverished our world, leading to the wide destruction of habitats and ecosystems. In this book, Giovanni Aloi and Michael Marder show that the field of critical plant studies can make an important contribution, offering a slew of possibilities for scientific research, local traditions, Indigenous knowledge, history, geography, anthropology, philosophy, and aesthetics to intersect, inform one another, and lead interdisciplinary and transcultural dialogues.

    Vegetal Entwinements in Philosophy and Art considers such topics as the presence of plants in the history of philosophy, the shifting status of plants in various traditions, what it means to make art with growing life-forms, and whether or not plants have moral standing. In an experimental vegetal arrangement, the reader presents some of the most influential writing on plants, philosophy, and the arts, together with provocative new contributions, as well as interviews with groundbreaking contemporary artists whose work has greatly enhanced our appreciation of vegetal being.

    • Hardcover $65.00
  • The Cinematic

    The Cinematic

    David Campany

    Key writings by artists and theorists chart the shifting relationship between film and photography and how the rise of cinema forced photography to make a virtue of its stillness.

    The cinematic has been a springboard for the work of many influential artists, including Victor Burgin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Stan Douglas, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Wall, among others. Much recent cinema, meanwhile, is rich with references to contemporary photography. Video art has taken a photographic turn into pensive slowness; photography now has at its disposal the budgets and scale of cinema. This addition to Whitechapel's Documents of Contemporary Art series surveys the rich history of creative interaction between the moving and the still photograph, tracing their ever-changing relationship since early modernism.

    Still photography—cinema's ghostly parent—was eclipsed by the medium of film, but also set free. The rise of cinema obliged photography to make a virtue of its own stillness. Film, on the other hand, envied the simplicity, the lightness, and the precision of photography. Russian Constructivist filmmakers considered avant-garde cinema as a sequence of graphic "shots"; their Bauhaus, Constructivist and Futurist photographer contemporaries assembled photographs into a form of cinema on the page. In response to the rise of popular cinema, Henri Cartier-Bresson exalted the "decisive moment" of the still photograph. In the 1950s, reportage photography began to explore the possibility of snatching filmic fragments. Since the 1960s, conceptual and postconceptual artists have explored the narrative enigmas of the found film still. The Cinematic assembles key writings by artists and theorists from the 1920s on—including László Moholy-Nagy, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Victor Burgin, Jeff Wall, and Catherine David—documenting the photography-film dialogue that has enriched both media.

    • Paperback $24.95